By Sally Rowland, Head of Digital at Moneypenny
In a move dubbed ‘Mobilegeddon’, starting on April 21st technology giant Google will give more prominence to websites that are mobile-friendly.
This is great news for users as it means better quality sites will be more easily accessible on-the-go, signaling the end of frustrated fingers having to ‘pinch and zoom’ in order to navigate. But what will the update mean for your website?
Many are predicting that the change will have a significant impact on sites which are not mobile friendly. In layman’s terms, this could mean web pages which used to rank well will now soon appear lower down in the list in mobile search results (despite the very best efforts of their creative writers, animators, and designers). For that reason, businesses which have not yet embraced mobile technologies in their marketing strategies have a valid reason to be concerned.
But before you run to the hills or batten down the hatches, you’ll be glad to hear this update does not spell the end of the world for your website.
Here are our three top tips to make sure your business is prepared for the changes:
1. Test with Google
Just because your site looks great and works amazingly on a desktop, doesn’t mean this will automatically translate to tablets and mobiles. So, first things first, head over to Google. It offers some fantastic tools that allow you to test your website to see how well it performs on mobile devices. The first is a Mobile-Friendly Test that gives you a yes or no answer to whether your page is mobile compatible. The second is Page Speed Insights - a test that will flag anything within your site that could impede its loading time. When it comes to the customer experience, little is more frustrating to users than a web page they have to wait for. They expect it to ‘just work’. Anyone can use these tools to gain a better understanding of how their site performs and where their main challenges lie.
2. Evaluate your website traffic
Head to your Google Analytics account and check your current traffic from mobile devices. This will help you assess how you will be affected after April 21st. If you have a high number of people visiting your website via a Google organic listing from a mobile, you will probably notice a considerable drop in traffic if your website isn’t mobile-friendly after this date. If most of your traffic is from desktops then you may not feel the effects too harshly, though it is definitely advisable to future-proof your website by optimising it before too long. The changes will impact on every business differently and depending on how much traffic you receive from mobile devices you will be able to prioritise how urgent this is, and how much time and money to invest in your website. Remember to keep tabs on this, and analyse the effect of the update in the weeks following the 21st.
3. Invest in website design
Ideally your website should be ‘responsive’, intelligently adjusting itself to the size of the screen it is being displayed on. It could also have useful features specifically for mobiles, for example phone numbers that connect when tapped on, and map apps that launch automatically from the ‘directions’ page. This might seem like an unnecessary expenditure, but think of it as an investment. Mobile internet usage has sky rocketed in recent years. With a quarter of the world’s population set to own a smartphone by 2016, it’s no longer a case of asking whether mobile marketing is important; we know it is. Not only are there more users, but more of their time is being spent online – with some researchers claiming that we spend up to 4.5 hours on our mobiles per day!
A mobile-friendly website will appease the millions of people surfing the internet using phones, and thanks to ‘Mobilegeddon’ they will now be able to find the results more easily. This can only mean more hits to your site, increased conversions and more customers for your business. In this super-fast changing world of communication it’s essential to embrace technological developments and respond to what users really want. So what are you waiting for? The better experience you can offer your web visitors, the more likely they will be to convert into customers. Get testing those sites, speak to your tech guru’s about responsive design, and prep your site for mobile today.